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DK Shivkumar’s Last Minute Gamble Worries Congress

Karnataka PCC chief D K Shivkumar’s last minute gamble to get his brother and the lone Congress Lok Sabha MP D K Suresh to file papers as his cover candidate from Kanakapura assembly seat has not gone down well with state Congress cadres. It was felt such a move could send out a message of uncertainty about the Congress. While officially the Congress explained the need for a cover candidate for Shivkumar — who was hoping to be CM — as a technical necessity. Party sources said Shivkumar had moved his brother to Kanakapura only as a back-up plan. “Having a cover candidate is necessary; he has to be there in the fray only till the time of withdrawal of nominations,” explained an AICC manager. But then why is the PCC chief suddenly preparing for the worst and worrying about rejection of his papers? Hasn’t Shivkumar been winning the Kanakapura assembly seat since 2008? Or has the entry of a senior BJP minister and prominent Vokkaliga face R Ashoka from Kanakapura queered the pitch for him? Meanwhile, Shivkumar’s attempts to consolidate the star power of Vokkaligas are showing results. He got former Lok Sabha MP and actor Divya Sapandana aka Ramya back as star campaigner. Ramya had also joined Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra in the state. Shivkumar was also hoping to get Mandya MP and actor Sumalatha Ambareesh to contest on Congress ticket. She opted out.